Prof. Mohammed Ayoob on Geostrategic Significance of the Arab Spring

Prof. Mohammed Ayoob, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Michigan State University visited the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP), National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore on February 10, 2014. He interacted with the ISSSP faculty and research staff.

Later in the evening he delivered a public lecture on the topic Geostrategic Significance of the Arab Spring.

Abstract of the Public Lecture by Prof. Mohammed Ayoob

The unfolding drama of the Arab Spring has demonstrated that it was not as autonomous a process as it appeared at first sight – that it was not merely a struggle between the forces of democratization and authoritarianism, the good guys and the bad guys. More often than not external powers, both regional and extra-regional, determined the outcomes of these uprisings to a much greater degree than did the local forces: Yemen (Saudi Arabia and the US), Libya (NATO), Bahrain (Saudi Arabia), even Egypt (US, Saudi Arabia, Israel) demonstrate the veracity of this proposition. This has become clear above all in Syria with the US, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, supporting the opposition and Iran and Russia supporting the regime. The Saudi-Iranian, US-Iranian, and US-Russian proxy wars are in full swing in Syria making the conflict intractable. Consequently, what started as domestic processes of democratic transformation in many of the countries have become hostage to multiple proxy wars going on in the Middle East – between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the US and Iran, Russia and the US. The ironies of these proxy wars are not lost on keen observers of the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia leading the counter-revolutionary brigade when it comes to Bahrain and Egypt but supporting the “democratic” opposition in Syria. External powers support to one side or the other has far less to do with supporting democracy and much more to do with their own strategic objectives in the region.

The audio of Prof. Ayoob’s public lecture as well as pictures of his visit are available below

Audio : Introductory Remarks by Ambassador Saurabh Kumar 


Audio : Prof. Mohammed Ayoob’s Public Lecture



Photos of Prof. Mohammed Ayoob interactions with ISSSP members

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 Photos of Public Lecture by Prof. Mohammed Ayoob at NIAS

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